Ask Scary Mommy is Scary Mommy’s advice column, where our team of “experts” answers all the questions you have about life, love, body image, friends, parenting, and anything else that’s confusing you.
This week: What’s the best way to tell your neighbor that their dog’s sh*t doesn’t belong on your lawn? Have your own question? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Scary Mommy,
My next-door neighbors moved in five years ago. They’re nice enough people, they seem to take care of their home and yard. But they don’t have a fence (neither do we) and their dog constantly takes a dump in our yard. Front yard, backyard, and sometimes even the side yard all fall victim to this dog’s sh*t. At least two or three times per week. The neighbors act like it’s not even happening, much less offer to clean it up. I’ve had enough. I’m a cat person for a reason, damn it. How do I confront them about it? We’ve mentioned things before here and there but were very passive. I’m fed up and ready to address this.
Yep, you’ve had quite a sh*t storm brewing, huh? As someone who also does not have a fenced-in yard but does have a dog, I’m wondering if they just let their dog roam free? Tie it up? Walking it on a leash and watch it drop a deuce in your yard and just…not care? Regardless of the way the sh*t gets there, it shouldn’t be there. Period. And they should absolutely be cleaning it up.
When you’re next able to approach them, I’d say something like, “We’ve noticed Bingo likes to use our yard for his bathroom! While we’re flattered he thinks so highly of our yard, would you please clean up after him?”
They have no right to get defensive here, though that doesn’t mean they won’t. If they get a little testy or huffy about it, you could say “It’s not personal, it just doesn’t belong in our yard. Thanks for understanding!”
Another option is inspired by an old neighbor of mine who used to do this when dogs pooped in her yard: bag it up, tie up the bag, and put it on their front stoop. Sometimes she skipped the bag altogether and just shoveled up the turds and gently placed them in a pile outside of the neighbor’s door. They’ll know what it is, they’ll know why it’s there, and the message will be clear—you’re not dealing with their dog’s sh*t. If they want to maintain cordial neighborly relations, they’ll hopefully decide to be responsible dog owners.
Good luck, and I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with this crap. Not everyone should be parents, and not everyone should be dog owners.